Discussing Race

Discussions about race are never easy. They should focus on listening to one another in an effort to better understand the challenges and issues that impact minority communities. Below are available resources and titles to help start discussions with your children, friends, and community members.

Resources for Discussing Race

Raising Race-Conscious Children

As a mother, I’ve always wanted my children be kind to everyone and accept people without biases or stereotypes. I figured that by being “colorblind,” or not calling attention to race, I was showing them that everyone was equal. But then I read a Washington Post article that explained that a colorblind approach may actually do more harm than good.

Writers & Readers: Eberhardt and DiAngelo Discuss Racism, White Fragility (Recap)

On Saturday, February 8, authors Robin DiAngelo, Ph.D., and Jennifer Eberhardt, Ph.D., came together in a timely conversation about racism and white fragility as part of Cleveland Public Library’s Writers & Readers series.

Anti-Racism For Kids 101: Starting To Talk About Race

If you’re nervous about talking about race with your kids, these books about racial diversity will give you an easy place to start destigmatizing difference & celebrating racial diversity.

21 Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge

This challenge was originally developed by Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. and Debby Irving and has been adapted by many organizations across the country. The challenge is designed to create dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership.


Recommended Reading

Biased (2019)
by Jennifer L. Eberhardt, Ph.D.

From one of the world’s leading experts on unconscious racial bias come stories, science, and strategies to address one of the central controversies of our time

White Fragility (2018)
by Robin
DiAngelo

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

Beloved (1987)
by Tony Morrison

Set in rural Ohio several years after the Civil War, this novel is a profoundly affecting chronicle of slavery and its aftermath. Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

Men We Reaped: A Memoir

Men We Reaped: A Memoir (2013)by Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn’s memoir shines a light on the small town of DeLisle, Mississippi, a place of quiet beauty and fierce attachment. Here, she lost five young men dear to her, to drugs, accidents, murder, and suicide. Their deaths were seemingly unconnected, yet Jesmyn chronicles their true stories and a staggering truth: these young men died because of who they were and the place they were from, because certain disadvantages breed a certain kind of bad luck, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle.

Between the World and

Between the World and Me (2015)
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men … What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son.

Invisible Man

Invisible Man (1952)
by Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature. The nameless narrator describes growing up in a black community in the South, being expelled from a Negro college, moving to New York and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. A milestone in American literature, this passionate and witty novel established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century.


Recommended Reading for Pride

Mr. Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo

Barrington Jedidiah Walker is seventy-four and leads a double life. Born and bred in Antigua, he’s lived in Hackney, London, for years. A flamboyant, wisecracking character with a dapper taste in retro suits, and a fondness for Shakespeare, Barrington is a husband, father, grandfather—and also secretly gay lovers with his childhood friend, Morris.

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

“Mountain,” Baldwin said, “is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else.” Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

From one of the world’s leading experts on unconscious racial bias come stories, science, and strategies to address one of the central controversies of our time

How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.


Additional Reading Lists

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognize books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures.


Social Justice and Activism from OverDrive

Check out these audiobooks from OverDrive. Download for FREE with your Library Card.


Talking to Kids About Race from Hoopla Digital

Check out these audiobooks from Hoopla Digital. Download for FREE with your Library Card.

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